Episode 69

Marketing - The Management Science of Empathy, with Nicolas Lambert, Expert, Author, Sustainable Marketer

Published on: 27th November, 2023

“Marketing is the management science of empathy - we need deep empathy if we want to take humanity and our economy through this massive change that we are facing.”

Marketing will not save the world, but we will not save the world without marketing.

In this episode we talk with Nicolas Lambert, author of, “Can Marketing Save the World”, (we know… a title very close to our hearts) and no surprises that it’s a book all about marketing and sustainability, An experienced and passionate marketer, he was CEO of Fairtrade Belgium, marketing executive at Unilever, AB InBev, Heineken and BBDO - and more recently, author and lecturer. We loved delving into the practicalities of sustainable marketing with Nicolas.

“Sustainability and marketing, two things that don’t work together, but they should and now have to.” Nicolas places marketing as the engine of an organisation and explains the opportunity for Marketers is to “broaden the scope of interaction”. Expanding their view to include the broader stakeholder chain so they don’t leave themselves with a large blind spot in their strategies.

When it comes to people, planet and profit or as Nicolas calls it, “the ménage à trios” he believes this needs to be at the core of what Marketers do, but acknowledges the challenges and underlying tensions that exist in the relationship between organisations and their stakeholders as we look for solutions and balance.

We covered so much in this episode with Nicolas as he shared his insights, experience and knowledge on the role of regulation, the need for Marketers to support their organisations’ sustainable agendas and, that all important missing sense of urgency.

Of course, we couldn’t talk sustainable marketing without discussing greenwashing which Nicolas believes, “most of the time it’s not because of cynicism of companies, it’s not because they want to be seen as greener than they are and manipulative, I think people are just being clumsy. They have a lack of knowledge and are applying traditional marketing tactics to sustainability, and that doesn’t work, and then they are surprised – because they just don’t get it.” Once again the need for Marketers to be more aware and educate themselves couldn’t be clearer.

So, tune in and check out resources such as Nicolas’s framework, the “fourteen levers to make marketing more sustainable.” he mentions which can be found here. (And don’t be fooled by the title of the slide - the document is in English ;)).


You’ll find the Podcast on all the usual pod platforms - and also on The Global Player and via The Marketing Society. If you love it, do share it and spread the word. Talking about climate change and the role we play is one of the most important things we can do. So join the conversation. We’re all in this together.

Our podcasts are recorded purely via online conferencing platforms, we apologise for any minor sound quality issues.


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About the Podcast

The Marketing Society podcast
The Marketing Society is a progressive global community of senior marketers. Our purpose is to empower our members to be brave leaders. Since 1959, we have grown into an influential network of 2500 members.
The Marketing Society is a progressive global community of senior marketers. Our purpose is to empower our members to be brave leaders. Since 1959, we have grown into an influential network of more than 2650+ members across our global hubs: London, Scotland, Hong Kong, Singapore, UAE and New York. Our members are mostly senior clients (over seventy per cent) from brands such as ASOS, Barclays, IBM, Disney, HSBC, Mars, Samsung, Unilever and Vodafone.

Everything we do is through a brave lens – pushing boundaries, tackling taboos, providing comfortable spaces to have important conversations and building meaningful connections. We speak up, inspire one another, share best practice and discuss the challenges and opportunities we face. We work together to make our industry better for business and better for the world around us.

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